Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
This past Friday, Pat Quinn, SCAD Atlanta Associate Chair of Sequential Art, invited me to observe GENERATE, the school’s version of 24-hour comic day. (SCAD calls it GENERATE to allow any other of the school’s departments that wants to participate can do their own 24-hour challenge). The event kicked off at 10 AM on Friday. Students participating in GENERATE are challenged to create a 24 page black and white print ready comic in 24 hours from a blank slate. This year, they introduced an option for students to form a team to produce the book, those who chose that option had to also color the comic.
The void left by Mike Marts moving from DC Comics back to Marvel has been filled, with long-running Vertigo editor Mark Doyle announcing Tuesday on Twitter that he’s taking over as Batman group editor. He’ll still be working on Vertigo titles as well, specifically mentioning American Vampire and The Wake — two titles written by Batman scribe Scott Snyder.
Snyder quickly expressed his enthusiasm for the move, writing on Twitter that “‘Thrilled’ doesn’t do justice to how thrilled I really am in welcoming [Doyle] to Gotham as Batman group editor. Mark is not only responsible for bringing me to DC via American Vampire (of which he’s the editor), but he’s edited the Wake, and some of my favorite books of past few years, from Sweet Tooth and Trillium on.”
Crediting Marts for bringing “Gotham to new heights,” Snyder said he was already showing Doyle his Batman and Superman work, and “there’s no one I trust more when it comes to story.”
Beyond those mentioned by Snyder, Doyle’s editing credits during his years at Vertigo also include American Splendor, Scalped and DMZ.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out. So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Students of DC Comics’ publishing history can probably rattle off at least a few editors from the company’s first few decades. Whitney Ellsworth edited the Batman and Superman books in the 1940s and ‘50s before becoming a producer on the Adventures of Superman television series. In the Silver Age, Mort Weisinger presided over an exponential expansion of Superman’s mythology, including all those varieties of Kryptonite, the introductions of Supergirl, Krypto and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and ongoing series focused on Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Similarly, as editor of the Batman titles, Jack Schiff supervised one of the character’s most recognizable periods, filled with colorful mysteries and giant-sized props.
Of course, the phrase “Silver Age DC” is virtually synonymous with Julius Schwartz, who worked with writers Gardner Fox and John Broome and artists Carmine Infantino, Mike Sekowsky and Gil Kane on rebuilding DC’s superhero line. One could argue fairly reasonably that without them DC Comics as we know it today might not exist (and neither would today’s Marvel).
However, while Ellsworth became DC’s editorial director in 1948, Schwartz Schiff, and Weisinger weren’t in similarly lofty positions. Today we readers hear a lot about “editorial control” and the dreaded “editorial interference,” charges aimed largely at the men at the top: Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. We hear a lot from them (illuminating and otherwise) about the general direction of the company. We also hear a good bit from various writers and artists, including Johns and Lee, regarding specific titles.
Nevertheless, on the management tier in between are the books’ editors themselves; and that’s the area about which I’ve become rather hazy. Therefore, I started looking through New 52 credits boxes, and supplementing this research through the Grand Comics Database, to see who was editing what.
By now most folks will have read Red Robin 4 (which was released on September 9), but if it’s still in your reading pile from this past week please make sure to read it before reading this interview with series writer Christopher Yost. (Consider that your official spoiler warning.) In addition to discussing the events of the issue, we delve into the plans ahead for the book and the life of Tim Wayne (formerly Drake), as well as the premiere of the new series artist Marcus To as of issue 6.
Tim O’Shea: Issue 4 is now out and had a fairly big reveal in the hunt for Bruce Wayne. This has been building up for four issues, did DC tell you exactly how they wanted the reveal to occur–or did they give you some creative levity to structure the reveal in your own way?
Christopher Yost: [Editor] Mike Marts and I had been talking about this from day one, and it was something that I wanted to do from the start. Tim’s incredibly smart, incredibly driven… if there’s evidence and clues out there, he’s going to find it. And as you saw, he did. We still haven’t revealed what put him on that road, of course… but I knew I wanted to tie Red Robin into the end of Grant’s Final Crisis super-early on.
But to answer the question, DC has given me nothing but freedom and creative levity. It’s pretty great.